Saturday, 19 June 2010

Rejection

I've been getting rejections - but for the first time in my life, I'm not hiding away crying. My latest wasn't that bad anyway:

Unfortunately we felt that your writing relied a shade too heavily on its plot and, as a result, the characters did not get a chance to spring to life. Sorry we're unable to use your work.

Definitely progress! I expect to see further criticisms of my settings, dialogue and characterisation but each magazine is a new market and it takes time and practice to find what works. I have so many pieces of work out there at the moment I don't feel too bad about the rejections. The board presently has eight competition entries or short stories out there. I put more out there and get them back every week. I have three poetry entries to go off - that's my next job. I hope to have 12-20 short stories to peddle around while I'm working on my MA, just ready for a bit of tarting up and tweaking for each magazine.

Meanwhile, I'm reading the Bridport Prize anthologies to get inspired for the first TMA for A363 - a 1500 word short story. I need something that would be 'easy' to adapt for drama of some sort. But the Bridport and Mslexia short story competitions have told me something - concentrate on an unusual theme. Tell a unique story rather than a commonplace story cleverly told. Back to A363, chapter 3.

I did play around with activity 2.10 and came up with a cute freewrite giving it a lyrical treatment then changing the pace:

Folding the laundry (Long slow version)

I find in the basket a nest of clean memories: the day we walked in the rain into town and found the comedy T-shirt my son loves; the colourful socks we bought half price before the Co-op closed down; washed and rewashed sunny days of our youngest’s favourite colourful top. The scent is unique to laundry that has been hung out in the garden, refreshed by breezes flowing off the Atlantic, winding their way down the valley, running aerie fingers through pants and shirts, socks and jeans, on their way to the east. I gather a T-shirt to my face, to inhale the last of that sea air, the fresh detergent, and underneath, the scent of my family. Tumbled in some soapy soup, socks wandering into jumpers, sleeves waving in the bubbly softness, turning, waving through the porthole on their journey to the garden. I smooth the softness in my hands, arrange in piles. A T-shirt remains from my daughter’s exodus, and is held a little longer, a small part of her presence in an uncertainty of her return. The top I took from my sister’s wardrobe after she died, one of her favourites, silky in my hands. It is a little smoother, more glamorous than any of my clothes, it retains some thing of her personality.

Folding the laundry (short fast version)

I find the basket is a nest of clean memories. There’s the day we walked in the rain into town and found the comedy T-shirt my son loves. And, before the Co-op closed down, we bought these colourful socks half price. Here is our youngest’s favourite top, washed and rewashed: a memory of sunny days. The scent is unique to laundry that has been hung out in the garden. Refreshed by breezes flowing off the Atlantic, winding their way down the valley. They run aerie fingers through pants and shirts, socks and jeans, on their way to the east. I gather a T-shirt to my face, to inhale the last of that sea air. There is the tang of fresh detergent, and underneath, the scent of my family. Tumbled in some soapy soup. Socks wandered into jumpers, sleeves waved in the bubbly softness. They turned, waved through the porthole on their journey to the garden. I smooth the softness in my hands, arrange in piles. A T-shirt remains from my daughter’s exodus. It’s held a little longer, a small part of her presence in an uncertainty of her return. The top I took from my sister’s wardrobe after she died was one of her favourites. It’s silky in my hands. It is a little smoother, more glamorous than any of my clothes. It retains some thing of her personality.
 I don't know why I called it short - it's the same length but punchier. Both serve a purpose, it is going to make me vary my work more, anyway.

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